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      News — Conditioning

      Nuts for the Peanut

      Our favorite work out tool is the peanut from FitPaws Fit Paws .

      Both of my Brittanys work on the peanut 3-4 times a week...each session is about 5-6 minutes. As you can see Biddy will do anything for even the smallest bite of food....I feed dry kibble and on peanut days I use a portion of their breakfast for the work out so I don't add extra calories. They are so funny....when they hear me ask if they want to do the peanut they race to the guest bedroom door to see who will be able to go first! I am a huge fan of core strength for my dogs and the peanut is a really versatile piece the gets it done efficiently! And as you can see...is fun too!

      We will post a regular series on FitPaws exercises but check out their site.

      Best.Thing.Ever.

       

      Do these jeans make me look fat?

      Okay..I am a little obsessed with fitness levels of my dogs.  Are they getting enough exercise? Are they gaining weight?  Am I feeding them the right diet?  Are they in proper condition?  Do you the have a strong core?  And on and on and on.... I spend a lot of time and energy on making sure I my dogs get the right amount of exercise, eat right, and in general are healthy....arguably more time and energy that I spend on myself in this area!

      A while back I saw a great post about how to tell if your dog was the correct weight and with proper muscle tone.  It demonstrated how your dog should feel when you rub your fingers over their ribs.

      It gave an example using your hand.  When holding your had out, palm facing down, run your fingers across the top of your hand at the knuckle.  This is what a fit, well muscled dog should feel like.  If you turn your hand over, palm facing up, and run your fingers across the knuckle area, this is what a dog feels like that is probably the correct weight or just slightly over, but not well muscled. A lot more padding on the ribs.  

      The final example was to hold your hand palm facing up and run your fingers over the heal of your hand.  This is what an overweight dog feels like when you touch his ribs.  Probably firm, but you are not able to feel his ribs at all. I really liked this analogy, much more than the concept of being able to see your dog's waist or an hour glass shape.  

      I think the hour glass method is easy if you have a short coated breed, however, a whole lot harder to do with a heavily coated dog.  This is also a good way to gauge your dog's muscle tone, especially if your dog is at or close to the right weight, but maybe not that strong in his core area.

      The reality is, that while we can carry a few extra pounds, no harm no foul, extra weight can be very dangerous for our dogs to carry.  Even an extra pound is a lot on a dog....and it doesn't take much to add on an extra pound.  The flip side to it, is that it also doesn't take much to lose a pound for a dog either.  Without changing dramatically, it can be a simple as cutting back just a little on food and increasing exercise a little.  Feeding using a measuring cup is all it takes to make sure you don't over feed your dog at mealtimes. If only it was that easy for me....

      Win More in the Dog Show Ring with 3 Easy Exercises for your Dog.

      It all starts with core strength.  Just like humans, dogs need to have a strong core.  Does your dog look good but not great?  Is your dog at the right weight, but just doesn't look fit?   Take a good look at your dog as he moves around the ring or outside.  Do you see a shift or roll on his back?  

      If you notice any of these things, your dog needs to strengthen his core.  Here are three easy exercises you can do in just a few minuets, without special equipment, to improve your dogs core strength.  In addition to improved appearance and performance, a strong core will reduce the risk of injury, improve gait and will literally carry your dog in their senior years.

      Here are three quick and easy exercises you can do with your dog on a daily basis that will improve core strength.  No special equipment is needed and you can run your dog through these in just a few minutes time.  I take my three dogs through them while I drink my coffee each morning.

      • Sit to Stand reps. ¬†This is an easy one, since most dogs already know how to sit. ¬†Ask you dog to Sit, then Stand, Sit then Stand. ¬†I have worked my dogs up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions each. ¬†The pace is about 1 second between Sit and Stand, then a little break before I start the next set. ¬†Make sure your dog is moving to the standing position using their rear, not their front. ¬†If needed, back your ¬†dog's rear into a corner or wall to ensure proper form. ¬†This is harder than you think for your dog. ¬†Start slowly with just a few repetitions and build up over a period of a few weeks. ¬†This is the equivalent of you going to the gym for the first time in months and lifting a lot of weights. ¬†The next day is not a good one...your dog will experience the same thing, so go slowly and make this fun.
      • Sit to Down reps. ¬†Otherwise known as "puppy push-ups". ¬†Put your dog in a Sit, then ask for a Down, then back up into a Sit. ¬†Work your dog up to 3 sets of 10 with about 1 second between the Sit and the Down. ¬†Remember, go slow and gradually increase the number of repetitions that you do.
      • Sit, beg, stand and sit. ¬†This is the hardest but probably the most beneficial of the exercises. ¬†Put your dog in a Sit, the raise up to a beg position, then all the way up to standing on two hind legs, then back down to a sit. ¬†Start with your dog in a Sit and just try to move him up to a beg position, the classic standing on haunches with front paws at his chest. For some dogs this is a very natural position that they perform nightly right around dinner time! ¬†But for a lot of dogs this can be very challenging. ¬†Use treats and help your dog up into a beg. ¬†Support him with one hand on his collar and your forearm under his front paws. ¬† Just work and practice up to this position until your dog has mastered it. ¬†A few times each morning for about a week or so and your dog will be comfortable going to this point. ¬†
      • Next add the all the way up on hind legs command and back down. ¬†Once your dog has mastered the positions you can gradually add more repetitions.

      TIPS

      Feed a portion of your dogs morning meal as training "treats" when practicing these exercises.  This becomes a fun game for your dog and you aren't adding extra calories or junk food.

      Use a clicker when you first start if your dog is not solid on the commands.  Marking the correct position and behavior makes it very clear to your dog what you are asking him to do.

      Keep it fun!  My dogs LOVE this one on one time and they LOVE to work!